The Wizard of Oz is returning to theaters; apparently it has been
in storage. Filmed in 1939, it will be showing for just three days at seven
hundred movie houses across the country to celebrate the 80th anniversary of
this iconic story. I have read countless articles and lots of trivia about this
picture over the years and thought it is time to share some of them with you.
Actor Frank Morgan, who played the "Great and Powerful Oz",
actually had several other parts in the movie; you might remember him as
the fortune-telling professor in Kansas, but did you recognize him as
the driver of the horse of different colors, a guard at the palace gates and
also a door keeper?
Toto the dog was actually named Terry and was a female; the
featured star Judy Garland fell in love with the little fellow and wanted
to adopt him but the owner loved her so much that he could not let her go.
Toto had two doggie doubles and they were used in the film when one of the
witch’s guards accidently stepped on the tiny star and broke her leg. Toto
earned more money per day than the little people who
played the Munchkins.
Buddy Ebsen, who later starred as Jedd Clampett in the
television series "The Beverly Hillbillies" was first cast as the Scarecrow
but requested to change to the part of the Tin Man. Unbeknownst to Ebsen, the
aluminum paint they used contained aluminum dust which caused him to be rushed
to the hospital with an allergic reaction. He was
replaced but his voice continued to be used throughout the
The movie had four different directors, one being fired during
the early days of filming, two who were summoned to assist with the filming of
the other iconic movie made that year, "Gone with the Wind" and the gentleman
King Wallis Vidor who took the helm and completed the film.
Jell-O was an important element in the film because it was
utilize to make a paste-like product to apply color to in the "Horse of
a Different Color" scene. The ASPCA was consulted to approve the technique
and it was successful except the horses kept licking the sweet substance off
their skin causing it to have to be reapplied.
There is truth to the rumor that child star Shirley Temple was considered
for the starring role but the more mature Judy Garland won the part because of
her stronger singing voice. However, Judy was older and more mature than the
character of Dorothy in the book, so she wore a tight corset during the filming
to make her appear younger.
Oz won two Oscars in 1940 although the film was nominated for
four more; the winners were Best Music original score and Best Music original
song for "Over the Rainbow" which was nearly cut from the film. The best
picture Oscar that year was of course won by "Gone with the Wind". To be